What is so amazing about Grace?
The one thing that separates Christianity from every other religion in the world is grace – that divine and undeserved favor of God that elevates the lowly and loves the unlovely. Grace is the good news that a sick and dying world needs to hear. Grace is what God’s love looks like from our side. Grace is love come down.
So what is grace? This is an important question. After all, grace is the heart and soul of the gospel message. It is the good news. The short definition that most of us know is “unmerited favor as given to us in Christ.” It is this but so much more. Grace isn’t a bunch of rules for you to keep. And grace is not God’s lubricant for greasing the cogs of self effort. Grace is a Person living his life through you. Living under grace is like being married, only more so. It’s the adventure of life shared with Christ. Simply said, God gives us his grace through his Son. Jesus came full of grace from the One who sits on the throne of grace. He is the personification of the Father’s grace. No Jesus, no grace. Know Jesus, know grace. Just as sin is synonymous with Satan, grace is synonymous with Jesus.
Jesus did not come to preach grace but to be grace and He did this by loving unconditionally and forgiving indiscriminately. Jesus hung out with crooks and con-men and hookers and tax-collectors. He ate with sinners and Pharisees and reached out to filthy foreigners. He told stories of radical grace, defended the guilty, and forgave the unrepentant. And in the greatest demonstration of love the world has ever seen, He gave up His life so that through Him we might truly live. Grace is not a doctrine or a podcast or a tweet. Grace is not a season to walk through or a midweek seminar. Grace is not one aspect of God’s character to be balanced against his other, less gracious aspects. Grace is a Person who loves you, died for you, and now lives for you. The gospel of grace is the gospel of Jesus – there is no difference. With this knowledge of Grace we should be reminded that ‐ Whereas Law can show us God’s holiness but can never empower us to live holy lives, GRACE CAN! ‐ Whereas Law can point out where we fall short but can never produce change in our hearts, GRACE CAN! ‐ Whereas Law can create feelings of failure but can never enable success, GRACE CAN! ‐ Whereas Law can mandate certain behaviors but cannot give us the desire to walk in righteousness, GRACE CAN! ‐ Whereas Law can command us to love God and neighbor but can never inspire us to do so willingly, GRACE CAN! ‐ Whereas Law can reform our behaviors but cannot transform our hearts, GRACE CAN!
Some quotes on Grace:
1. “If heaven were by merit, it would never be heaven to me, for if I were in it I should say, ‘I am sure I am here by mistake; I am sure this is not my place; I have no claim to it.’ But if it be of grace and not of works, then we may walk into heaven with boldness.” ~ Charles Spurgen
2.“Grace is not a theology. It is not a subject matter. It is not a doctrine. It is a person, and his name is Jesus. That’s the reason the Lord wants you to receive the abundance of grace, for to have the abundance of grace is to have the abundance of Jesus.” ~ Joseph Prince
3. “It is grace at the beginning, and grace at the end. So that when you and I come to lie upon our death beds, the one thing that should comfort and help and strengthen us there is the thing that helped us in the beginning. Not what we have been, not what we have done, but the Grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Christian life starts with grace, it must continue with grace, it ends with grace. Grace wondrous grace. By the grace of God I am what I am. Yet not I, but the Grace of God which was with me.”~ D. Martyn Lloyd Jones
Grace cannot be separated from Jesus Christ. It is wrapped up in Him. He is the One who is full of grace and truth. When we look to Him and His work on our behalf, we see grace in action.
Paul described that work in his letter to the Ephesians: “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4).
So what is grace? It is God’s act to make us, who were dead in sin, alive with Christ. Grace is far more than a covering for sin. It is the implantation of Christ’s life in us. The Complete Word Study Dictionary defines “grace” this way: that which causes joy, pleasure, gratification, favor, acceptance for a kindness granted or desired. It is a favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver. God’s absolutely free expression of loving kindness to us is life, His life. That’s grace.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~ Jesus Christ, Matthew 11:28-30